Jennifer Garner is just about the most open and honest celebrity on Instagram. She shares videos of herself having story time with her pets and her fake cooking show segments are worthy of an Emmy. So when we asked her to open up about all things beauty, she was just as candid and real as she is on social media – and gave truly inspiring answers.
To celebrate PEOPLE’s Beautiful Issue, we caught up with Garner to chat about what makes her feel most beautiful, and as it turned out, it’s when she’s not in any makeup at all.
“My kids are so relieved to see me take my makeup off and put glasses and sweatpants on,” she tells PEOPLE about what makes her feel her best. “I guess that doesn’t really count as feeling beautiful! It is more like feeling wanted and loved for being me, which is even better.”
Coincidentally, the first time she felt truly beautiful was when she got all dolled up for a school event, the sixth grade Santa Claus breakfast in elementary school. “I slept in pink sponge rollers the night before and wore some little elf costume my mom sewed for me,” she said. “I remember feeling cute and noticing that it was a new and different and nice way to feel.”
And despite having access to every top hair and makeup artist today, she’s most proud to have mastered the skill of “wearing just enough makeup to look better without anything extra,” she says.
As for her beauty routine, she says the one product she’ll hoard is Neutrogena Sesame Body Oil (she loves the sheen of it and the “easy, quiet, delicious scent”) and appreciates a good sunscreen and night cream (both of which she’d tell her teenage self that it’s never ever too early to start wearing).
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But her most endearing answer was when she was asked what’s her favorite way to make the people she loves feel beautiful. “I love to take my mom and sisters shopping,” she says.
As if we couldn’t love Garner more, she goes and gives us truly beautiful answers.